La Mère Gérard

Impression: Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Number: 24
Date: 1858
Medium: etching
Size: 129 x 90 mm
Signed: 'Whistler - ' at lower left (2-final)
Inscribed: 'Imp. Delatre. Rue St. Jacques. 171.' at lower centre (4)
Set/Publication: 'French Set', 1858
No. of States: 4
Known impressions: 53
Catalogues: K.11; M.13; T.6; W.9
Impressions taken from this plate  (53)
The sitter probably posed for this etching in Paris in the autumn of 1858, but possibly earlier. Whistler was in Paris until 14 August, and on his return from the Rhineland, after 7 October 1858.
La Mère Gérard was published with the Douze eaux-fortes d'après Nature (the 'French Set') in Paris in November 1858.
Lochnan cites Francis Seymour Haden, Sr (1818-1910), as the source of information on a possible sequence of etchings made in Paris before Whistler's Rhine trip (which took place between 14 August / 7 October 1858). These were La Rétameuse [26], En Plein Soleil [11], La Mère Gérard [24], Fumette [12], and La Mère Gérard, Stooping [25]. However, there seems no reason to separate the two portraits of Mère Gérard, even though some of the etchings could date from just before or after the Rhine trip. 1

1: Lochnan 1984, pp. 28, 29, 31, 57, 226.